North Dakota Surplus Expected To Eclipse $2 Billion

money flying bills air

But remember, citizens, we can’t have any real tax relief because the state might run out of money or something.

The latest state finance report predicts a whopping $2 billion in surplus and reserves by June 30, 2013, the end of the biennium.

Office of Management and Budget Director Pam Sharp gave a financial update to legislators during the Budget Section’s meeting Tuesday in the Capitol. The state’s booming economy has resulted in stronger than expected revenues from sales taxes, individual and corporate income taxes, and other taxes.

Just to put this astounding number into context, this is a $2 billion surplus on top of the roughly 24% increase in state spending approved for this biennium by the last legislature.

Can you imagine what the state’s surplus would be if the state were a bit more reserved and responsible with its spending?

My prediction for the next legislative session: Spending goes up another 25% or so, and taxpayers get maybe a few hundred million in tax relief, most of it being the sort of phony-baloney property tax buy-down state leaders are so enamored with that really isn’t tax relief at all.

Because that’s the sort of political leadership we have in this state. Tax and spend and keep as much wealth tied up in government as possible.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Kevin Flanagan

    This is nauseating.

  • $8194357

    And “property taxes” are going up by leaps and bounds….
    A for profit government monopoly gouging any and all, IMO…

  • Gern Blanston

    No excuse for maintaining current levels of taxation – none. Reduce income taxes now.

    I’m afraid they’ll pull a RINO-esque move and offer a one time rebate…

    • Roy_Bean

      We have all this oil revenue at the expense of the infrastructure out west.  We really can’t say we have a surplus until we have restored the roads back to what they were before they were wrecked by the oil development. 

      • Rob

        The state has already appropriated more than $1 billion to western infrastructure in the last session.  I’ll admit that our state’s leaders didn’t do enough on infrastructure earlier, but they’re spending the money now.

        Throwing money indiscriminately at western infrastructure is hardly good policy.  There’s plenty of money going out there.  Give it time to be spent and make a difference.

  • The Fighting Czech

    sounds like all the more reason to raise taxes….

  • Mike Peterson

    Wow…There needs to be huge pressure from taxpayers for tax relief this upcoming legislative session. There is absolutely no excuse anymore, and I really hope people step up to the plate!!

  • Patrick R. Pfeiffer

    Our founders started a war over taxation without representation.

    They intended that We, the People, would give the government the periodic and temporary authority to spend our money:  we decide how much and on what.

    Now the government dains to give us temporary “rights” to getting a little of our money back, and tells US what they’re going to spend and on what.

  • olafolson

    There is a surplus of $3,075 for every MAN, WOMAN and CHILD in North Dakota due to over taxation, good times, and luck.  This money represents over taxation.  There are two quick remedies:  [1]  Giive back $3,075 to every ciitzen and [2] lower or get rid of Personal Income Tax and Corporate Income tax.

    If the Legislature/state would GIVE BACK the money to each and every citizen [$3,075]— this bienniem without changing any tax laws for 2013-2015–they would STILL have even more–possibley $3 BILLION to spend or give back in 2015!! WOW.

    Another unknown tax fact is that every county,  city, school district,  weed board and thousands of local public entities have SURPLUSES that approach another $1 BILLION becaused they have been taxing and “banking” your money!!  If they were to give that back to the citizens, it would be an additional $1,538 to every MAN, WOMAN and CHILD!!!

    The Measure #2 supporters blew this one–they can keep paying, paying, paying–Not me,  Im selling my hosue for a PREMIUM PRICE [thanks sucker!]  moving to Nevada–LOW taxes on my CHEAP  Nevada house and I’ll read about the ND Legislature promoting their tax schemes this winter!!

  • Randy G

    A few million would be just overtaxing, 2 billion is theft from the people.

  • Patrick R. Pfeiffer

    olafolson is precisely correct.  There is slush fund upon slush fund hiddern in mayonaisse jars and under rocks in every nook and cranny of local and state government in ND.

  • Ndexault

    I hope the jerks who voted against the property tax measure read this & are happy paying it.

  • Lindakhager

    It took less than a week, after the vote, for the property evaluation increase and therefore, increased taxes to land at my doorstep. I’m talking about tens of thousands of dollars worth of increase.  I hope the people who want to continue on this road get their taxes raised enough to understand why this was a mistake or maybe it will make them giddy with excitement.

  • Kent

    Your comment, slush fund over slush fund is what many people have been led to believe exist. There is some money saved, but for all practical purposes the only money available is the current 2 billion surplus. The problem is the legislature will spend it all this next session. What that then does is increase the baseline of ND spending which means the state needs to keep funding the increased size in government. If revenues should slow down, the state will be out of money much quicker than any of you realize. As such, they are keeping all revenue sources in place in case oil revenues (and related western ND sales taxes) should slow. The reason is the government is that big, they need the cash. I don’t buy the argument that the state has an average of 3,000 for every person, I am entitled to a 3,000 refund. I like most people in the state haven’t paid 3k of taxes (property taxes are a different pot then the surplus discussed), the surplus is from natural resources. That state should tax as much as they can on this but they should be saving the money, not spending it next bi enimum.

    • Rob

      I get where you’re going, but let’s not forget that the legislature could ease up on spending.  You’re assuming that the spending will continue – and it probably will – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • ProgressNDdon’tRegress

    Remember who is legislating this state.  104 of 141 legislators are GOP.